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Life As We Knew It
by Susan Beth Pfeffer



Susan Beth Pfeffer

Susan Beth Pfeffer

Book Trailer

About the Book

When Miranda first hears the warnings that a meteor is headed on a collision path with the moon, they just sound like an excuse for extra homework assignments. But her disbelief turns to fear in a split second as the entire world witnesses a lunar impact that knocks the moon closer in orbit, catastrophically altering the earth's climate. Everything else in Miranda's life fades away as supermarkets run out of food, gas goes up to more than ten dollars a gallon, and school is closed indefinitely. But what Miranda and her family don't realize is that the worst is yet to come. 

About the Author

Susan Beth Pfeffer was born in New York City in 1948. She grew up in the city and its nearby suburbs and spent summers in the Catskill Mountains. When she was six her father wrote and published a book on constitutional law, and Pfeffer decided that she, too, wanted to be a writer. That year she wrote her first story, about the love between an Oreo cookie and a pair of scissors. However, it wasn't until 1970 that her first book, Just Morgan, was published. She wrote it during her last semester at New York University; since then, she has been a full-time writer for young people. 

She has won numerous awards and citations for her work, which range from picture books to middle-grade and young-adult novels, and include both contemporary and historical fiction. She is also the author of the popular Portraits of Little Women series for grades 3-6, and has written a book for adults on writing for children. 

To date, she has written more than 60 books. About David was awarded the South Carolina Young Adult Book Award. The Year Without Michael is an ALA Best Book for Young Adults and winner of the South Carolina Young Adult Book Award; it was also named by the American Library Association as one of the hundred best books for teenagers written between 1968-1993. 

When she is not working, she enjoys watching movies, both new and old, and collecting movie memorabilia, reading biographies and histories, and eating foods that are bad for her. She lives in Middletown, New York, with her two cats, Alexander and Emily. (From

Discussion Questions

  1. What was the first major catastrophe that happened when the moon was knocked out of its orbit?
  2. What happened to Rhode Island? If you managed to escape, where would you go? Why? 
  3. What were some of the kids’ first reactions in school the next day? How do you think you would have felt? 
  4. Miranda's Mom exhibited foresight in dealing with the seriousness of the situation. List all the things she did to increase her family's chances of survival. 
  5. In the first week after the asteroid hit, what kept happening that changed the way everyone went about their daily lives? Why is electricity such an essential utility? What do you think is the worst thing to happen if there is no electricity? Why?
  6. What happened to the climate during the summer? What did Miranda and her family do to cope? How did Mom's foresight help in this situation?
  7. What other disasters besides the tsunamis began to occur? What were the consequences to the planet and its people? 
  8. Do you think Dad and Lisa made it to Colorado? Why or why not?
  9. Miranda's family was isolated from the community during the winter. In what ways was this both good and bad? What was the decision that Miranda faced at the end of the book?
  10. What do you think you would have done in that same situation?